Chocolate Chip Cookies without Butter are soft and gooey with a chewy texture -- and packed full of flavor even though there's NO BUTTER in them!
This easy recipe is made with oil instead of butter, a heavy dose of brown sugar, and a big old splash of vanilla to add rich flavor to these butterless chocolate chip cookies.
- What do Chocolate Chip Cookies without Butter Taste Like?
- Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Ingredient Substitutions
- Recipe Testing Notes
- Which is Best: Chocolate Chips or Chopped Chocolate?
- Step-by-step Instructions
- Storage and Freezing
- Expert Tips
- Recipe Essentials
- More Delicious Cookie Recipes
- Let's Stay in Touch
- Chocolate Chip Cookies without Butter
We've all been there. The mood for a batch of warm homemade chocolate chip cookies hits -- but, dang -- no butter.
That's okay! You can absolutely make delicious chocolate chip cookies without butter.
This chocolate chip cookie recipe is made with canola oil -- a neutral oil -- that creates a very moist and tender cookie.
This cookie recipe has more brown sugar than white, a giant splash of vanilla extract, and a finish of salt for extra flavor.
What do Chocolate Chip Cookies without Butter Taste Like?
So ... do they taste like butter? No. Do they taste delicious? Heck yeah!
The chewy cookie is soft in the middle with slightly crispy edges.
The brown sugar adds moisture and rich flavor, and the vanilla and sea salt enhance all the tasty flavors in these cookies.
More Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
- Mocha Chocolate Chip Macaroons
- Chai Spice White Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Big, Fat Oatmeal Craisin Cookies
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Gooey chocolate chip cookies with a soft texture and chewy middle
Classic chocolate chip cookie recipe you can make even if you're all out of butter
Chocolate chip cookies so flavorful, you might not even miss the butter
Easy recipe to adapt for dairy free chocolate chip cookies -- just use dairy-free chocolate!
See the full list of ingredients on the recipe card below.
Oil. This recipe for chocolate chip cookies substitutes oil for butter. I used canola oil, a neutral flavored vegetable oil.
Brown sugar. This cookie recipe has more brown sugar than white sugar to add more rich flavor, since there's no butter. I always use dark brown sugar, but light brown sugar will certainly work.
One large egg, 1 egg yolk. Egg whites can dry out cookies, so this recipe uses one large egg and one egg yolk to add richness and keep the cookies nice and moist. Use room temperature eggs.
Vanilla. One full tablespoon of vanilla enhances the flavors of everything else in this cookie recipe.
All purpose flour. Please measure your flour carefully by spooning it into the measuring cup and leveling it off with a knife. If you scoop straight into the bag or canister, you may accidentally add too much flour, which can can make the cookies dry and no fun.
Salt. One teaspoon of salt brings out the flavors in this cookie without being salty. If you're watching your salt intake, you can certainly reduce this amount.
Baking soda. Baking soda is a leavening agent that helps make a soft, fluffy cookie.
Chopped chocolate and chocolate chips. I think chocolate chips AND chopped chocolate is the perfect combination in chocolate chip cookies. I use semi-sweet chocolate chips and chopped Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate with 60% cacao.
Sea salt, optional. A sprinkle of sea salt on top of the cookies gives a delicious sweet salty flavor.
Olive oil. The light, fruity flavor of extra-virgin olive oil, it's a really yummy alternative.
Brown sugar. If you like a denser cookie with deep, rich butterscotch-caramel flavor, use all brown sugar. I tried it and it's delicious!
Chocolate. Use any kind of chocolate chips or chocolate chunks -- dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, mini chocolate chips -- chopped chocolate bars, or a combination of both.
Recipe Testing Notes
Canola vs. olive oil. When I tested this recipe, I tried canola oil and olive oil and both worked really well. I really enjoyed the flavor of the olive oil chocolate chip cookies, but it might not be for everyone. If you think you'd like it and have a bottle of flavorful olive oil you enjoy, by all means use it. If you're afraid the flavor might be too overpowering, try going 50-50 canola and olive oil.
Brown sugar vs. brown & white sugar. Another test I tried was to use all brown sugar -- no white sugar at all. The brown sugar chocolate chip cookies were a little bit denser with a deeper caramely flavor. I would definitely make them that way again. So feel free to give it a try if you run out of white sugar or just love that deep, dark rich flavor.
Which is Best: Chocolate Chips or Chopped Chocolate?
When it comes to choosing chocolate for your chocolate chip cookies, which one is best? Chopped chocolate or chocolate chips?
Chocolate chips certainly have their pros.
- Easy -- just grab and pour
- Handy -- you probably already have them in your pantry
- Affordable -- less expensive than bars of premium chocolate
- Retain their shape -- they don't melt during baking (possibly a pro and a con?)
- Add crunchy texture -- I'd rather get crunchiness from chocolate than nuts 🙂
Chopped chocolate also has a lot going for it.
- Melts more smoothly than chocolate chips
- More flexible -- more types of chocolate to choose from
- More flavor -- those tiny shards of chopped chocolate melt inside the cookie
- Irregular shapes melt into gooey pools on top of the cookies and look interesting
However, chocolate bars cost more and require effort to chop them -- albeit, about 2 minutes.
I see both sides, so I use both. I like having some chips for shape, texture, and appearance. I also like chopped chocolate for the delicious gooeyness and melted chocolate throughout the cookie.
The right answer is there are no wrong answers -- as long as there's chocolate in your chocolate chip cookies.
1. Mix the wet ingredients.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together with an electric mixer.
Add the egg and egg yolk to the oil mixture and mix until creamy. Mix in the vanilla until completely incorporated.
2. Mix the dry ingredients and combine them with the wet ingredients.
Stir the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a separate large bowl.
Mix the flour mixture into the wet ingredients a little at a time until just incorporated. Do not overmix.
3. Add the chocolate.
Set aside a handful of chocolate chips and chopped chocolate for adding to the tops of the cookies.
Fold the remaining chocolate into the dough with a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula.
Cover and refrigerate the cookie dough for at least an hour. I prefer to chill it overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Use a cookie scoop or ice cream scoop to portion out the cookie dough into 2-3 tablespoon cookie dough balls.
Place the balls of dough at least 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.
Add a few more chocolate chips and chopped chocolate pieces to the tops of the cookie dough balls. If desired, add a sprinkle of sea salt.
Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the top of the cookies just start to turn light golden brown. Be very careful not to overbake them.
Place the cookie sheet on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to the cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.
Storage and Freezing
Store cookie dough in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Freeze cookie dough in a freezer bag for up to 6 months. Thaw the dough in the refrigerator and bake as directed.
Store cooled cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for about a week.
Freeze cookies between layers of wax paper in an airtight container or freezer bag.
Olive oil or canola oil? Use olive oil if you want the light, unique flavor of olive oil in your cookies (I personally love it!). If you prefer not to taste it, a neutral vegetable oil like canola oil is perfect.
Try using all brown sugar. During testing, I made a version of these cookies using only brown sugar. The rich toffee caramel flavor was absolutely delicious! If this sounds yummy to you, give it a try!
Chill the dough. This dough is very soft and it needs to be chilled until firm -- at least an hour or more. I usually chill the dough overnight.
Use a variety of chocolate chips and chopped chocolate to add texture and flavors. Chopped chocolate is great because you get big chunks and tiny shards that melt inside the cookies.
Spices. If you want to add more flavor to your cookies, try adding cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, or spice blends like chai spice or Chinese 5 spice.
Extracts. Try adding flavor extracts to the cookie dough like almond extract (start small, a little goes a loooonnnng way), peppermint extract, coconut extract, or maple extract.
Nuts. Add chopped almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, peanuts, or any kind of nut in place of some of the chocolate chips.
Dried fruit. Swap some of the chocolate for a handful of dried cranberries, blueberries, or cherries.
Yes. Oil is one of the best substitutes for butter in baking because it provides a very similar fat content. Oil also adds moisture to cookies, and if you use a flavorful oil like olive oil, you can introduce a new flavor profile to your favorite baked goods.
No. Without butter, you'll pick up on all the rest of the flavors in the cookies like the molasses in the brown sugar, the rich chocolate, and the oil -- if you use a flavorful oil like olive oil.
When replacing butter with oil in a recipe, a general guideline is to replace the butter with ¾ the amount of oil. So if the recipe calls for 1 cup, you'll use ¾ cup oil.
In recipes that call for melted butter, a 1:1 swap may work perfectly fine since they're both liquid form.
There is no hard-and-fast rule that will work in every recipe, however, and you may need to tinker a bit to get it just right.
More Delicious Cookie Recipes
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Chocolate Chip Cookies without Butter
- ¾ cup oil canola or olive oil
- 1 cup brown sugar light or dark
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ cups chocolate chips and/or chopped chocolate I use a combination: ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
- flaky sea salt, optional
- Mix the oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together with an electric mixer.
- Add the egg and egg yolk and mix until creamy. Mix in the vanilla.
- Stir the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a separate bowl. Mix the flour mixture into the wet ingredients a little at a time until just incorporated. Do not overmix.
- Set aside a handful of chocolate chips and chopped chocolate for adding to the tops of the cookies. Fold the remaining chocolate into the dough with a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula.
- Refrigerate the cookie dough for at least an hour. I prefer to chill it overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Portion dough into 2-3 tablespoon cookie dough balls. Place them at least 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.
- Add a few chocolate chips and chopped chocolate pieces to the top of each cookie ball. If desired, sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
- Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the top of the cookies just start to turn light golden brown. Be careful not to overbake.
- Cool cookies on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.